In 2000 when I was first hired in BPE, our DG then Nasir El-Rufai put a computer on every officer’s desk and declared that he was going to run a paperless office and that memos now would only be passed and approved via Lotus Notes. He also declared that there would no longer be any staff of confidential secretary cadre and that all staff including directors would type their own memos and reports themselves and pass electronically. By this action, he gave opportunities to staff erstwhile condemned to be typists to learn new skills and become active drivers of the privatization process.
But how many civil servants at that time had ever used a computer? Needless to say about 80% of us didn’t know how to put on a computer. I mean there were men and women born as far as in the 1940s and 1950s still in active service. Even I that was born later self, computer was a big masquerade wey dem dey take cloth cover for Computer Science Department for UI for my time as dem no take am teach us for school Na punch card and later floppy disk Na him I know.
There was a little rumbling and then he contracted a consortium of trainers to teach us everything from messaging to Excel, from MS Word to PowerPoint even Microsoft Project. Every staff no matter your grade level went to the course, it was on for months at the Nicon Hilton with sumptuous lunch and dinner going with it. While eating all that food, you had better learn how to functionally use the computer.
A few weeks after the training had gone round, the office became truly paperless. Those who couldn’t do their work with their computers stuck out like sore thumbs and 3 months after, their names were compiled and they were fired. Some of them were people generally perceived as very close to him.
My second story is that in the same BPE under Nasir’s leadership there was a time it became apparent that some staff weren’t pulling their weight. Each time a Department was carrying out their tasks it was always the same people always driving the tasks while some just came to work, did almost nothing and collected salaries and travel estacode.
Nasir called a meeting of all staff one day and said from that day, he was removing every staff from their respective departments and placing them in a general pool. He now asked all the Departmental Directors to pick Staff they wanted to work with from the general pool across all grade levels. His thinking was that at least one Director you have worked previously with must see your value to choose you.
He gave a week for the directors to send him their choices confidentially and he announced that if NO ONE selected you, it meant you had not been doing anything and he was going to fire you. Most people were selected by at least 1 Director, a few more by 2, a very few by 3, just 4 people by 4 directors and only ONE PERSON (someone I am proud to call my friend and brother till today) by all the 5 directors.
One of the guys that wasn’t chosen by anyone was a big guy in the legal department who was known to be very close socially to Nasir (perhaps the source of his ‘bigness’). Well Nasir being a man of his word fired the 5 staff no director wanted including his pal the ?big guy?. My friend that was selected by all 5 directors was rewarded with a fully paid for Management Course in Harvard.
If anyone knows NUT Kaduna they should advise them that rather than try to tango with Nasir in a political show of force, they should negotiate a TRAINING and RE-ASSESSMENT for their members and agree that after the training period those who don’t pass must leave. His only interest is the quality of education as there is nothing a teacher who can’t pass a primary 4 examination can add to that quality. He would never back down even if it costs him a re-election, he is focused on the NEXT GENERATION not the NEXT ELECTIONS. Ogunyomi Sangogbamila. Orunmilalana Edumareojekinte.
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